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School recess stops for helicopters

KOLOA — What can stop a school recess?

That question was answered yesterday when the Robinson R22 fired up its engines as the Mauna Loa Helicopters craft prepared to leave the campus of Koloa School following the crew’s presentation at the Career Day program.

“I was a little late in coming to school this morning, and I saw the helicopter circling the school,” said Debbie Lindsey, the school’s principal. “When I saw it, I knew Career Day was about to start.”

The Robinson R22 helicopter is one of the craft used to train helicopter pilots, said Barrett Daligdig, one of the Mauna Loa staff.

“We have a good crew of trainers and we’ve had students from all parts of the world come here to learn how to fly helicopters,” Daligdig said. “We’ve had students from Germany, Belgium and all parts of the world.”

The Mauna Loa Helicopters crew was just one of the nine presenters who came to show and talk to students about the work they do.

“This is only the second one we’ve done,” said Aaron ‘Aho Sai Mauck, another of the Mauna Loa crew. “The first one was at Kapa‘a High School, but since it was indoors, we couldn’t bring the helicopter. It’s just something we do to get the kids excited about what’s out there for them, and it’s fun for the kids, too.”

During the 90-minute session, some of the students got an opportunity to watch their presenters in action as a call prompted the fire rescue squad to excuse itself.

“The rescue crew had to leave part-way into their program because they had to respond to an emergency,” Lindsey said.

In its absence, Dirk Apao of the Kaua‘i Fire Department worked with students, allowing one to get dressed in firefighter gear. Beyond the dress up, Apao took advantage to talk to the students about the functionality of each piece and the role it plays in protecting firefighters who respond to a fire.

Carol Everett, the Kaua‘i Humane Society’s educational outreach specialist, used the Career Day to introduce the society’s new shearwater coordinator to the children as well as give her an opportunity to work with the younger segment of Kaua‘i’s community.

“She just started, so this was a good chance for her to work with the children about educating them about the Newall shearwater,” Everett said, in anticipation of the shearwater season which will start later in the summer when fledgling birds make their way to the sea.

Lindsey said the Kaua‘i Humane Society has always been an effective presenter in teaching the students about animals and how to care for them.

“It’s all about the community,” Lindsey said. “Each of the presenters worked with three classes so everyone in those classes got to see and hear what the presenters had to say.”

Lindsey said, in addition to the trio, the school hosted two chefs from the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i, an agricultural inspector and a police officer.

Ray Carvalho, the school’s counselor, was the coordinator of the event.

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